China should refrain from treating Taiwan in the “brutal” and “unilateral” manner it adopted when announcing the six-point proposal on cross-strait media exchanges, Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) said yesterday.
The way in which Beijing behaved at the forum on cross-strait exchanges during which the proposal was presented has set a “very negative example” for the conduct of cross-strait relations and “undermined the mutual trust” between the two sides, Lung said.
China should take a lesson from Taiwan’s reaction to the proposal, she added.
Lung made the remarks when asked by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Ho Hsin-chun (何欣純) to comment on the controversial initiative at a meeting of the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee yesterday.
The proposal calls for fostering closer cross-strait ties in the areas of culture and media through measures such as signing a bilateral cultural agreement, having media on both sides make concerted efforts by to promote “Zhonghua culture” (中華文化) and establishing reciprocal media offices on both sides, among others. However, it made no mention of press freedom.
Central News Agency (CNA) chairman Chen Kuo-hsiang (陳國祥) and Public Television Service chairman Shao Yu-ming (邵玉銘) were among the more than 70 Taiwanese and Chinese media officials who attended the forum.
Echoing earlier comments by Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦), Lung said: “If Beijing is sincere about promoting cross-strait exchanges and building mutual trust, I hope that it will never do this [to Taiwan] again.”
Several DPP lawmakers have said that the presence of CNA and PTS executives at the forum sent the message that the government has endorsed the initiatives, since the two media outlets are state-owned.
Yet Chen and Shao have distanced themselves from the proposal, saying that their presence at the forum did not mean they agreed with the proposal.
Chen was reportedly irritated when DPP Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) asked him why he did not voice any disagreement at the forum.
“Should I have grabbed the microphone while the proposal was being read out and knocked [whoever was reading out the statement] to the ground in protest?” the CNA chairman said.
In response to DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei’s (陳亭妃) suggestion that Shen should have walked out of the meeting in protest, Shao said that would have been “rude.”
“We are a civilized society and believe that people can have different points of view. Therefore, I didn’t think I needed to walk out of the meeting at that time,” the PTS head said. “I have been to many international conferences. It’s rude to walk out of a meeting just because people say something you don’t agree with.”